Friday, November 28, 2008

Actions speak louder than words

I attempt to post entries that are relevant to parental alienation, based on my own experiences and from the stories I hear from other parents. Many times I will come up with a new post based on what my recent keyword analysis has been that has lead one to my blog. I then attempt to gather my thoughts and write. I have had several keywords show up concerning personality disorders and how they ruin holidays, emotional abuse and false allegations of abuse.

I strongly believe that the alienating parent does suffer from a personality disorder, which I have written about in previous posts. I also believe that other target parents believe this as well. Proving this theory may be next to impossible though. I believe that people with the personality disorders, such as narcissism, are intelligent enough to take these mental exams and answer according to the normal society standards. I remember that both my ex spouse and I had to take this exam and he later told me what he wanted to answer for some of the questions but he didn't. Then he laughed in my face.

Some of the actions by the alienating parent are conscious and spoken to the child in their campaign to degrade the target parent. Other actions are subconscious and these unspoken actions have lasting effects. Actions speak louder than words.

Some things that come to mind that perhaps a reader could relate to are: you work with a team member that says they are for teamwork, but takes the credit for your work; a friend that says they will be there for you when needed but when you call they are busy and 'forget" to call you back; a sales person tells you what you need to hear to get the sale, but when you need customer service they claim they never said those things.

Alienating parents not only use degrading words to discredit the target parent, but they also use actions and those actions do speak louder than words. The alienating parent then also has an excuse to say they never said anything, which they didn't, but their actions spoke volumes.

The alienating parent may tell the child that their other parent does not care for them like they do. Repeating those words will not have the effect that the actions will have. The alienating parent will call the child to check up on them, not once, but several times a day. If the child is having fun with the target parent and does not answer their call, the alienating parent becomes frantic and will let the child know that they were so worried about them and not to let them worry like that again. The alienating parent may leave messages as well during the day and night to the child letting them know that they are thinking of them, they miss them and to contact them with any needs or concerns. The alienating parent will also tell them that the child can call them at any time and they will come and get them if needed. This constant phone contact keeps the child on edge and can even work in favor of the alienating parent. The child may want to call the alienating parent to tell them some great news and when the alienating parent does not answer, the child can become frantic that something terrible has happened. This is an example from my own personal experience. My son wanted to call his dad about something he did and his father did not answer the phone. Repeated calls went unanswered and my son freaked out. He started calling others that have contact with his dad asking where he was. When his dad finally answered he told him he left his cellphone in the car when he got out and was only gone a few minutes and he was sorry he missed his call. This action cemented into my son's mind that he needed to also protect his dad.

The alienating parent may verbally claim that the other parent does not feed the child. These claims can be made to child protective services as well. CPS can come and make their investigation and find that this allegation is false. The alienating parent will tell the child that the agency did not properly do their job. Their next move may be that when the child visits they bring groceries to the target parents home so the child has food to eat. There is no need for the extra food, but this is done by the alienating parent to cement the need by the child for the alienating parent. Again, these actions speak louder than words.

The alienating parent may make allegations that the target parent does not care for the child medically. They may take the child to medical professionals seeking assistance for a feigned problem that the accusation was the direct cause from the lack of care by the target parent. Of course there is no medical problem for the child, but the alienating parent is looking for a person that has the legal responsibility to make allegations of abuse against the target parent. When these actions do not result in the desired outcome, the alienating parent will tell others that these medical professionals were not doing their job.

When the target parent protests these invasions they are often told they are over reacting. Phone contact should be allowed and why are you trying to deny it? You are being ungrateful for the food brought to your home and this was done for you child. Are you denying the extra food for your child? You should be thankful that a medical problem was being addressed, are you denying medical care? This is how the alienating parents operates. The attorneys and judges look at the objections by the target parent to these intrusions and explanations that are part of the campaign of parental alienation and tell the target parent to lighten up.

Those in authority,that can put a stop to parental alienation, must realize that it is a collection of words and behaviors, conscious and subconscious, by the alienating parent and that the target parent is only trying to maintain a relationship with their children. Until then nothing will change.

Parental alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, why?

As we enter the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, this can be a very difficult time for parents who are separated from their children because of parental alienation. They may have a court order that states they have holiday visitation, but they may not get to spend time with their children because the alienating parent interferes once again. It is difficult enough that target parents have weekend visitations taken away or interfered with, but the holiday interference really puts the icing on the cake so to speak. Holidays are stressful enough without the added aggravation. Perhaps it is the notion that we spend hours making the perfect dinner and everyone gathers around a table to eat and we share special moments isn't all that it is cracked up to be.

The three main triggers for depression and stress during the holidays are finances, physical demands and relationships. As a mother, I want to have the so called perfect holidays be it with the meal, decorations or the gift giving. With the state of the economy right now, this places demands and stresses to do what I can with less. These demands, although stressful, I can handle. I get excited being to save and being creative. Some of the demands are self induced be it doing more than one can afford, not knowing when to say no or trying to buy expensive needless gifts. I have always thought that the holidays are about family and about gifts from the heart. So this brings me to relationships.

The holidays can be a painful reminder of the death of a loved one who has passed during the holiday season. They can also be painful that you may be alone or if a target parent, that you are unable to spend the holiday time with your children. If a loved one has recently died or you aren't able to be with your loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness or grief. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

So as we enter the holiday season, I ask Happy Thanksgiving, why? I do not get to spend time with my son. I cannot even hear his voice. As usual, my phone calls go answered, messages that are left are ignored. In this age of technology, the emails and text messages left are also ignored. So I can be depressed or I can think of what I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I have a job. I am thankful that I am not homeless and that I have a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in and clean clothes to wear. I am thankful that I can prepare a meal today and have the ability to share. I am thankful that I do not have to worry when my next meal will be. I am thankful to have friends that are supportive, even when I have been very difficult. I am thankful that I am not in a hospital right now because of some illness. I am thankful that my son is healthy and alive. I am thankful that I have the freedom to express my feelings and thoughts and the capacity to do so.

So in closing for today, realize that target parents may very well be somewhat down today and for the next several weeks. It is a difficult time for them.

I pray that one day not another parent will ever have to experience the pain and heartbreak of parental alienation.

Parental alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Could there be a correlation?

I strongly believe that allowing a child to continue to grow up in an environment that encourages parental alienation, that there has to be side effects that affect the child's emotional development. They are most likely going to believe that this behavior is acceptable and will continue these behaviors in their own relationships, thus becoming the alienator themselves. They are likely to become ridden with guilt, once they gain some maturity. I do not believe these children will have the capability to ever have a "normal" relationship with others. They may believe that one can lie and be deceitful to gain what they want. They are also likely to reject authoritative figures and have the attitude that they are "above the law" and do not have to follow rules or laws. I pretty much believe that these behaviors are a given considering the behaviors that they have experienced while growing up and developing emotionally.

A child's behavior is influenced not only by what goes on in the environment in which they live, but also by what they observe in adults. Their behaviors are learned through association, imitation, observation, pressure, needs, wants, influence and desires.

This brings me to what I want to talk about today. Could there be a correlation between crime committed by minors under the age of 18 and parental alienation? There are documented research cases that indicate that children from single parent homes are more likely to be involved in criminal activity. I found this quote, "According to one study, children raised in single-parent families are one-third more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior". I can find documentation that children raised without fathers also have a higher criminal activity as well. I found these quotes; "Nearly 70 percent of juveniles in state reform institutions come from fatherless homes, as do 43 percent of prison inmates". " Research indicates a direct correlation between crime rates and the number of single-parent families in a neighborhood".

It does not matter if these children were raised without a father or a mother, these children did not obviously have the interaction of the other parent. I have to wonder why. Parents walk away from their children and we tend to hear that it is the father that does this. So is he the dead beat dad? Why? What circumstances lead up to his leaving? I do believe that some parents, both mothers and fathers, fit the typical media description of a dead beat parent, but I think many parents want the involvement and can not possibly jump through the hoops that the custodial parent and the courts demand. For example, I know of one father that worked the night shift. He was only allowed to see his child during the week and during specific daylight hours. His job had mandatory overtime and he worked a Monday through Friday shift. He was not allowed to see his child during the weekend. So he was to work, sleep, and see his child when the courts said so and if overtime, which was mandatory, interfered with his visitation, he could not see his child on a weekend when he did not work. I know of a mother who worked a night shift as well, but was told by the courts that she could not work this shift more than two nights per week or she could not have access to her children. So are they deadbeat parents or parents that cannot possibly conform to the ridiculous rules set upon them? Let me also state that before someone wants to state that the parent should have adjusted their work schedule or found a new job. Child support is based upon the income that this parent was making. Your spouse worked this job and you enjoyed this income prior to the divorce and expect the same level of lifestyle. You made arrangements, when married, based on your spouses work schedule for child care, so you could have this level of lifestyle, but now that you are divorced, you expect your spouse to continue this income without any compromises. This could be one major reason that a parent so called walks away. They don't want to, but they cannot do what is demanded.

So how does parental alienation fit into this scenario? The constraints set forth by a vindictive spouse allows them to make statements such as " we do not have the money because your dad or mom......" "Your father or mother changed jobs and makes less now, but we don't have the money for....." " I am sorry you did not get to spend time with your dad or mom this time, their works means more to them than you"

In parental alienation cases, there is a pattern of abuse; false allegations, refusal of parenting time, lies and deceit. The child learns that deceit gains the parent something, even if for a short period of time. They also learn that this misrepresentation goes unpunished. False allegations of abuse in divorce is an epidemic. Children are becoming the heirs to hatred passed down to them from their parents. This is all that they know, and they in turn foster this pain, hatred and deceptiveness in their own adult relationships.

Have you listened to the news? Have you listened to the description of the crimes committed? Have you listened to the ages of the suspects? Where do these children get these ideas to commit these crimes? Could it be that they see a parent, that does not set an example, that if you do not follow the rules and laws that the punishment is nothing more than a slap on the wrist?

If anyone thinks that parental alienation is nothing more than hogwash and that these children will not suffer some consequences, then all I have to say is to take off your blindfolds and open your ears.

This presidential election campaign was about change. We can either change the laws regarding custody issues or we can see a change in the amount of dysfunctional families, which will increase the crime. Now it is up to you, to help change the laws about custody. Do not empower a child, that has no idea of what they are doing and punish these parents that make these false allegations of abuse and damage their children by their alienating behaviors.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Understanding the Obsessive Alienator part 1

As a target parent myself, I am constantly trying to understand the dynamics of what makes the obsessed alienator tick. My simple answer is that my ex is a jerk who wants revenge for some perceived wrong that I did to him. That really does not explain why either. As for other parents who read this blog, they want to know why their alienating spouse or ex spouse is participating in these behaviors as well. For those that read this blog who have never experienced parental alienation, they may be wanting to understand as well. To preface this, I must say that I do not think that most can comprehend why the obsessed alienator behaves the way they do and that the obsessed alienator cannot give definitive reasoning with solid and undisputed facts to support their actions.

I believe that the obsessed alienator has characteristics of either a personality disorder or some emotional disorder. I believe that the obsessed alienator tends to either fall within the clinical descriptions for narcissism, sociopath or psychopath or may even possess characteristics of each of these disorders.

Obsessed alienators will use an array of tactics to "win". These tactics could be, but are not limited to; excessive litigation, alienating the child against the target parent, employing others in malicious actions against their ex spouse, lying, deception, false allegations of abuse and interference with visitation with the target parent. Theses actions could be repeated reports to child services for abuse. They will enlist the help of others to make these reports as well. They may go as far as taking the child to medical professionals, that have never had seen the child, and make accusations of abuse. They may contact teachers and remind them that they have a duty to report abuse and may even appear aggressive in their suggestions. Seeking the aid of other medical professionals and teachers can be done in the process of the initial alienation or after the alienating parent has exhausted their means through their own reports and reports made by the concerned friends and family that support the alienating parent. Lies could include allegations of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, allegations of abuse against the child and mental instability alleged against the target parent to authorities. These allegations could also be made against a supportive partner of the target parent. With each allegation, there is some form of expense involved for the target parent. These can include court appearances and attorney fees. The obsessed alienator will impede visitation and use a number of tactics to prevent contact and will be persistent in their efforts. These can include phone calls not being answered or messages returned, disconnected phone numbers, email interference, postal mail not being delivered, refusal to cooperate in letting the other parent know about school functions, refusal to allow the other parent to have copies of school pictures and much more.

I believe that these tactics are used in a quest by the alienating parent to strip the target parent of their parental rights. They are not content with just winning custody, but want the other parent completely eliminated from the child's life. This is more than just denying the child or children access to the other parent, this is done to eliminate the other parent. It is done to make them non existent.

Today I will focus on the narcissist personality. I could write several pages describing this, but I will assume that you, as a reader, has suspicions or some knowledge of the narcissistic personality.

Narcissists will and do contradict everything they say, but will do it in such a way, that you will question your own sanity. They will contradict things that you know as fact, things you have experienced together and even contradict their explanations. You cannot reason with a narcissist and I would not suggest trying. You have to keep precise notes and if at all possible, have another person with you on any contact that you will have that can serve as a witness to what was said. You will not win a he said, she said argument with a narcissus. Narcissists do not feel empathy and will feign sympathy to gain your "trust". The more one opens up to a narcissist, the more the narcissist has as tools against you.

Narcissists are competitive and envious. They believe they deserve more and could do whatever project better. In my experience of living with a narcissistic I found that I was told how to dress, behave and how to have my home present as the narcissist is always trying to live up to some perceived idea of success. The phrase that comes to mind is "keeping up with the Joneses". We had to fit this idealistic perception that we were of some social class, some upper class society. This is where one can alienate a narcissist by questioning them. The narcissistic can appear and even talk in social circles that are out of their league, but further questioning will bring the truth. A narcissus does not want to be found that their projection is a lie. Of course doing this brings the wrath that only a narcissistic person can deliver.

Narcissists are critical of personal criticism, but are very critical of others. One thing that comes to mind is the hurricanes that hit, especially Katrina. My ex's attitude was that these people that lived so close to the coast knew of the dangers and it is their fault. If you have criticized a narcissus, then you are well aware of the wrath you will receive. Criticism also puts them at a disadvantage and you can use this to your advantage. You just have to listen very well and keep very detailed notes and or recordings.

Narcissists are sarcastic and attempt to use sarcasm as their joking mechanism. Comments I have heard my ex say to his mother, myself and in the background when talking to my son were: The cookies are burnt on the bottom, must be they are done, Oh look she burnt dinner again, Dinner is not done till the roast is burnt and much more. This is their idea of humor and it is always at the expense of another.

Narcissists feel they are entitled to things. Be it a better job, house and possessions. To gain these material attributes they will lie and steal to achieve this perception. Do not expect a narcissist to be overindulgent with you after they have captured the prey though. Perception to others that they are better and have more is important to them. I could further elaborate on my personal experiences, but will refrain at this moment. Suffice it as my ex has records of theft, embezzlement and forgery, all of which are public record.

Narcissists are manipulative, cunning, deceitful, controlling, charming and persistent. If they feel they can win you over and gain something or take something from you, they will stop at nothing to reach their goal.

Although this may not help you understand many things, remember that once you were dazzled by your ex's behavior, demeanor and bullshit. They captured your attention and love and you gave your all to them. They did not return the level of love that you gave them and they are doing the same to your child. Only when you realized the lies and deceptions could you separate yourself and it took time to realize this. Your child will too one day realize this as well. When? I cannot answer that. You have to have faith that your child or children will eventually get tired of being held hostage in mind, soul and body, just like you did.

Parental alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

False Allegations of abuse

As usual, I am researching parental alienation and found some more information. I came across this site today:

This is a story told by a friend of the tribulations that many target parents experience and that is false allegations. The author writes "This is a true story describing what a friend of mine is presently going through. I never thought I would be writing about the realities of false allegations from such a personal perspective. However, this experience has shown me the extent of the damage done to those falsely accused." The author goes on to write some conversation between him and his friend, Josh, who is going through a divorce. "Didn’t anybody stop to think how an angry, vindictive person can use these laws to ruin another person’s life? What the hell kinda of democracy do we live in”

This really hit home with me. I was falsely accused of child abuse. I was notified at first by a message left on my answering service that my son had been taken into "protective custody". My first thought was " Oh my God, what has happened?" Never did the thought that my ex would abuse our child enter my mind. Granted my ex is no saint and is abusive, but never did I think he would hurt our child. He was abusive to his wives, which by now he has several ex wives, all whom have reports of domestic violence against them by his hands. He has children from another marriage and from our union as well, and he always "appeared" to love his children. Therefore, I had other unimaginable thoughts racing through my mind as to what could have happened that would warrant such a message left for me.

Little did I know, that I entered a world of false allegations and nothing can be done to those that make these allegations.

I would spend the week after I received this message in a state of confusion and desperation. Sleeping, eating and my well being took a back seat. Pretty much the next five or more days were a blur to me. I talked to anyone that would listen at anytime of the day or night. I could not eat, I could not sleep. By day five, my body had enough. Without sleep and proper nutrition, I was experiencing heart palpitations and mental breakdown. I could either continue on this self destruction or gather the strength to fight with all I had. I chose to fight and to do that, I had to pull myself together.

I remember after the accusations against me, gathering my own evidence and being interrogated by these so called professionals doing the investigation. I would learn from their comments on visits to my home, some of the other allegations made against me. The investigator came in and sat down and immediately stated " house is clean". I wondered, "what does that mean?" I realized an allegation had been made that my house was not clean. This was another accusation in an attempt to strip me of my parental rights. The investigator had to take pictures of my refrigerator and pantry, because an allegation was made that I do not have food in my house and I do not feed my son. When the investigator took the pictures he made the comment that "drug dealers do not have food in their homes." Again, I would realize that this was another allegation against me.

For as preposterous as this and the other blog sounds about false allegations, I must say these false allegations exist and are investigated. There is no accountability against those that make these false allegations. They are protected because they made them in good faith. When these investigators come in and do their assessment and find that the allegations have no merit, I feel they should return to the complainant and file charges. That will never happen and this cycle of abuse will continue.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse!

My response to two comments:

I made this post: on November 14, 2008 and have received two comments and I thought I would expand upon what the two commentators said.

I attempt to end each entry with this statement: "Parental Alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse! " I do this because parental alienation is ABUSE and I feel that it is the most atrocious acts of abuse that a parent can do their child. To encourage a child to have hatred, disgust and anger towards the other parent is despicable. When a parent encourages a child to have these feelings, when there is no evidence of abuse and the allegations can not be substantiated, then the so called adults of the ruling system need to act.

Attorney's that represent these clients that make these claims and encourage others to make these claims, need to remove themselves as the representing party and make notations to the next attorney. They need to state the reasons why they so the next attorney that the alienator will attempt to hire will have a so called heads up. This of course will violate some attorney client confidentiality clause, so this is a mute point. The judges that hear the arguments from both attorneys need to realize that false allegations of abuse happen more often than not in highly contested cases. I feel that these judges may actually realize this, but are unwilling to make a statement that will send a very distinct message to these alienators. Judges need to stop relying on the impossible that two alleged adults can find a common ground (the child) and do what is best for the child. The target parent wants the best for the child and will compromise even more than what they would like to do. The alienator has one goal in mind and that is to ruin the target parent. They do not care about the best interests of the child.

Judges need to enforce visitation rights for the target parent and to enforce punishment against the alienating parent. This "do not do this act again" and " do not be in my courtroom for this again" , only buys the alienating parent time to continue their harassment of the child, target parent and the judicial system. Judges do not need to feel that they will cause more problems by forcing a child, who may be of that age where their opinion can be heard. Children need both parents. If the judge feels that he is sparing the target parent from more harassment by the alienating parent, and possible emotional ups and downs by a target parent attempting to reestablish the relationship, the judges need to realize that being away from our children hurts more than what we will have to deal with. Give the target parents support through the judicial system, that is all we ask. Do not place weight on what the child claims he does not want to spend time with his mother or father. Barring any abuse, do you think a child can willingly verbalize their true wishes? If this is the case, then let these children tell you they do want to go to school this week because they have a test they do not want to take. Let them tell you they do not want to attend church because they have to get up too early. Let them tell you they do not want to study because their favorite shows are on TV, or they have other plans. If a child came into a judges chambers with these requests the judge would promptly show them the door and tell them to listen to their parents. But for some reason these same judges listen when a child says they do not want to have contact with a parent. If there is no abuse and the evidence supports that one parent is attempting to limit contact with the other parent, or to even stop contact then these same judges need to check their testicles.

Target parents are not coming to court alleging abuse against the alienating parent. They are coming to court to fight for what is rightfully theirs and that is contact with their children. Quit postponing court dates, quit letting a minor dictate your rulings. quit giving the alienating parents a chance to redeem themselves. Stand up for what is right! Grab your testicles and rule against the alienating parent and enforce visitation for the target parent and impose punishment for violation of your ruling.

Unless someone takes a stand, this will continue. People will need counseling and people will still need attorneys and judges, but why make innocent children grow up this way?

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Parental Alienation

I constantly look for articles about parental alienation. For one, it helps me understand that this DOES exist, even though the courts seem to do nothing about it. Today I came across an article and will include a portion of it.

"In summary, does alienation of one parent by another parent happen? Absolutely! It
typically occurs in situations in which the emotional dysfunction is very high, a personality
disorder may be present, there is an escalating situation involving hatred and anger between
the parents, and the children are the ones who are negatively impacted to the greatest degree.
Despite all of the research that is now available demonstrating that children need access to
both their mother and their father, some parents conclude that a child does not need the other
parent. Is this abuse? In my opinion, yes! Is it an example of family violence? To some
extent, yes! Does the situation tend to be tolerated or ignored by the legal process until it
becomes very severe and almost impossible to reverse?
In my experience, that typically
happens all too often. It is becoming increasingly obvious to anyone who practices within the
area of family law that the direction we need to take is to reduce conflict, keep matters out of
the Court if at all possible, facilitate ongoing relationships between children and both of their
parents, and develop better ways of dispute resolution than by always ending up in front of a
Judge. If we are not successful in this quest, we are going to see increasing numbers of
children who are negatively impacted by an ongoing acrimonious relationship between their

Dr. Larry Waterman is a psychologist practicing in Nanaimo who has provided assessment reports to the Court for twenty-six years.

It seems that every article that I read, I see reference to some sort of personality disorder concerning the alienating parent. There also seems to be reference to a need for control by the alienating parent as well.

What really struck me in the above referenced article was where Dr. Waterman states " some parents conclude that a child does not need the other parent." My ex stated that our son "does not need his mother" to several people. These type of statements should immediately send off ringing bells, waving flags and flashing lights in the minds of anyone that hears these types of statements. This should be an immediate warning sign that something is amiss. When I objected to my ex's statement, he was eloquent in his response. His reasoning and manner of speaking was intentional and done in such a way, that I was portrayed as overprotective. I was overprotective of our son, but for reasons that I have not revealed yet. Those reasons were not to prevent contact or visitation with his father though. This is how obsessive alienating parents operate. Their method and behaviors are manipulative, cunning and deceitful. They will take a statement and turn it inside out and construe it into something completely different.

Target parents will tell you that grass is green and the sky is blue. Obsessive alienating parents will argue that grass is blue and the sky is green and will have you believing that is true. One cannot effectively give reasonable explanations to an obsessive alienating parent and expect to succeed in their discussion. Obsessive alienating parents are in a class all their own.

The sad part is that the children are the ones that are true victims in this. They have lost the parent that has the best interests at heart and have gained manipulation and lies as qualities to live by.

Parental Alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Best interests of the child

The courts are supposed to use the best interests of the child when determining custody issues. Unfortunately I do not believe that the courts actually follow this doctrine when an alienating parent is determined to obtain custody. I think the courts fail miserably to ascertain each and every aspect of what each suggested factor encompasses. I believe too much weight is given to the child's preference without further investigation as to why the child feels so determined to change primary residence.

I found this historical synopsis today.
Until the early 1900s, fathers were given custody of the children in case of divorce. Many U.S. states then shifted from this standard to one that completely favored the mother as the primary caregiver. In the 1970s, the tender years doctrine was replaced by the best interests of the child as determined by family courts. Because many family courts continue to give great weight to the traditional role of the mother as the primary caregiver, application of this standard in custody has historically tended to favor the mother of the children.
The "best interests of the child" doctrine is sometimes used in cases where non-parents, such as grandparents, ask a court to order non-parent visitation with a child. Some parents, usually those who are not awarded custody, say that using the "best interests of the child" doctrine in non-parent visitation cases fails to protect a fit parent's fundamental right to raise their child in the manner they see fit.

In this article, you will find a summary of state laws regarding this doctrine.

“Best interests of the child” generally refers to the
deliberation that courts undertake when deciding
who is best suited to take care of a child. Factors
that may be considered by the court when making a
best interests determination can include:

The age and sex of the child

The mental and physical health of the child

The mental and physical health of the parents

The lifestyle and other social factors of the parents
The emotional ties between the parents and the child

The ability of the parents to provide the child with food,
shelter, clothing, and medical care

The child’s established ties to school, home, community, and
religious institutions

The child’s preference

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Monday, November 10, 2008

To My Son

When you were born,
I received the most precious gift.
I willingly and lovingly
wanted to provide for you a home
where you felt safe and happy,
a home built on a foundation of
security, respect, and hope.

I wanted to be there
to catch you when you fell
share your successes
and encourage your dreams.

I wanted to be there to comfort your tears
and share your laughter.
I have tried to help you see
the roses among the thorns in life
and that they are there for you to pick,

I have tired to earn and keep
your treasured trust.
I have loved and will continue to love
being your parent.
And remember, if you need me,
I will always be just
a thought away.
And yes, my son,
you will always have my
unconditional love....forever.

Authored by Steven H. Waller 2005

What do Alienating and Target parents look like?

What do alienating and target parents look like? They look like any other person one would meet. They look like your spouse, your brother, sister, parents, friends, co-workers, or the stranger next to you in line at the store. They do not fit any physical description, but I do believe that they fit certain mental or emotional descriptions.

Alienating parents are manipulative and liars. They can turn any benign situation into a hostile one and can manipulate those in authority to see their side of things. They are masters of deceit. They exploit others and use them as an end to their means. They are arrogant and can show their lack of self control if contradicted or confronted. Often this lack of control can be seen as rage. They are aggressive and demand the upper hand in all situations. They lack true compassion and empathy, but will use these traits to gain something they desire. They thrive on conflict and the feeling that they have won. With the alienating parent it is me, me, me, not us. The person who falls prey to their tactics will profess "us".

Target parents are passive and resist confrontations. Target parents can think of others first and many times will sacrifice their own needs for those that they feel need something more. They can be described as meek and mild. They may even appear as submissive. They follow rules and believe that rules apply to everyone, not just a select few. They are willing to admit their faults and will seek help if needed. Although a target parent may articulate well, they often lack the ability to completely verbalize the needs or problems of a situation, when confronted. They feel the need to protect and many times have the philosophy of treat others as you wish to be treated. This trait plays well into the hands of the alienator. Target parents want to tell their side of the story, but struggle with the possibility that they themselves will now look like an alienating parent.

One of the things I would like to point out is that since alienating parents manipulate situations and lie, these actions will eventually catch up with them. Of course, those that fall prey to them are in a state of constant confusion, that they themselves tend to forget what is real and what is not. It is once a person is free of this control, that they start to piece together the pieces as if they were a puzzle. I figured this out from the relationship with my ex spouse. Once I was free of his control and manipulations, many things did not make sense. I even questioned my own well being at one time. This is what they want, to keep you on edge, to make you needy and dependent upon them. This is when I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together and the picture was not pretty. Alienators leave a trail behind. You just have to want to start looking for it and piece it together.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Time for change

It is time for a change in the family law area regarding the custody of minor children. I most certainly do not have the answers nor do I have every idea possible to prevent the abuse of children by the courts and by parents who are obsessed with alienating the affection of their children from the other parent. I can only offer some suggestions and do not know how these suggestions could be implemented to protect the children and the parents affected by parental alienation.

I have never entertained the thought of obtaining a prenuptial agreement. Had this been suggested to me prior to my marriage, my first impression would have been that my spouse may not take marriage seriously and that divorce may be something they could foresee. Marriage in my mind was a commitment made and was for better or worse, not for when something better comes along. I also thought prenuptial agreements were for the rich and famous, not for some young couple struggling to set up a home. I have given some thought to this and after my own personal doubts as to motive why one would be a good idea, I have this to offer.

A prenuptial agreement would provide a binding legal contract with the courts concerning the distribution of personal property and financial assets brought into and acquired during the marriage. This would stop all the nit picking arguments in court about possessions and could speed up the divorce case and possibly save some money in the process. Prenuptial agreements also have to be fair so that one spouse is not left destitute. Of course full disclosure of all assets is a must. If the soon to be spouse hesitates at the idea of fairness, then I would say forget marrying this person. I also believe that having a prenuptial agreement could prevent some power plays by a controlling partner. For example, if you let me have this, I will not fight for sole custody of the children. I would rather not suggest what a prenuptial agreement should have stated, but would rather suggest that one seek legal guidance.

I believe that that pre-marital counseling or education classes be mandatory prior to marriage. In this article:

It states: “A nice article in the Journal of Family Psychology (March 2006, Vol. 20, No. 1, 117-126) by research psychologist Scott Stanley, titled "Premarital Education, Marital Quality, and Marital Stability: Findings From a Large, Random Household Survey" presents evidence from a four state survey of over 3000 homes (representing a wide range of economic, ethic and cultural groupings in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas) that pre-marital counseling helps to make marriages healthy and strong. If this finding was ever in doubt, it should no longer be. “ “Couples in the survey that participated in pre-marital counseling were, on average, 31% less likely to divorce in any given year of their marriage than couples who did not benefit from this counseling. They were also more likely than un-counseled couples to report higher marital satisfaction, lower marital conflict and greater levels of commitment.”

Hire a competent attorney who understands what parental alienation is. I think this is one area where you get what you pay for. Do not base your choice by the amount of the retainer and fees. Also get a fee schedule from your attorney. I would ask others for recommendations of attorneys and ask why they recommend them. Do not be afraid to fire your attorney, if they are not doing the job you expect them to do. You will have to lay out more money to do this, but you cannot be standing there on the day your divorce is to be final and realize you have been screwed. This is from personal experience.

Mediation should be the route for most divorces and custody cases. You feel empowered as you have a say in the outcome of your case. The problem with mediation is that there is a compromise that will and must take place for mediation to work. In cases where one parent is the obsessed alienator, mediation will never work. The obsessed alienator will refuse to budge on issues and will bully you. The obsessed alienator will maintain control.

Prior to any divorce with a custody issue, there should be mandatory parenting and or counseling classes, where both parents must attend together. I am not sure of the mandated states that require this or of the mandated sessions that are required. I think a minimum of a 12 week in depth parenting with counseling sessions should be required. I am sure many would think that this is too much and some may be thinking 12 more weeks that I must interact with my soon to be ex. This is not about you, but about your children.

I also think that custody orders should spell out exact times, dates and locations for visitation, as well as who is responsible for transportation. The typical every other weekend and Wednesday night visitation leaves much to the obsessed alienators mind to interpret. They will unilaterally interpret the orders based on their own actions and motives. I also think that custody orders have provisions that spell out that each parent is should be free from derogatory actions, claims and words from the other parent. It should also spell out the ramifications of such actions. A custody order should also state that all communications between the father and mother be in writing, with a copy sent to each of their attorney’s and also the guardian ad litem. This will prevent any he said, she said issues. Of course I could suggest several more options, but they will mean nothing unless the judges hearing these cases uphold the law and provide relief for the parents that are alienated from their children. Interference by a parent that prevents visitation, parenting responsibilities, or access to their child’s activities should be punished and not just by a slap on the wrist.

Lastly, child protective services need to realize that in the context of high conflict divorces and custody cases, they must be aware that false allegations of abuse will be alleged. I understand that people that make allegations are protected from making a false report if they believe that the allegation is true. CPS needs to discover the relationship between the person making the accusation and the accused. If you have not had contact with the accuser in years, how can they be a reliable source for information? Therefore, CPS needs to ask where they got the information and prosecute these people that make allegations falsely.

Of course nothing will change until people involved with the issues of child custody understand that parental alienation occurs. Counseling will help those parents who are naïve and active alienators, but I do not think there is much that can be done in that aspect for the obsessed alienator. This is why the judges need to have some backbone and punish the obsessed alienators. The current punishments are not enough to deter them. This is what needs to change.

Not one or all of these issues will ever change the outcome for parents and children targeted by the obsessed alienator. Education is the key for those in power to realize that this exists. Sadly, I feel that until one of those in power experiences the tragedy of parental alienation will things ever change.

Parental alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse!

Different degrees of parental alienation

In his book Divorce Casualties, Douglas Darnall, Ph.D. describes the three types of alienators; naive, active and obsessed. I think every parent, whether divorced or not, should read this book. In families without conflict, this book can serve as a tool for better parenting tips. In families where there is conflict, this can help to point out some behaviors that can be damaging to the children.

Naive alienators: I believe that everyone from time to time is a naive alienator. You do not even have to have children to fall into this category. It is human nature to say things we regret later when we are hurt, angry, frustrated or tired. Everyone has said something they later regret and we apologize for those hurtful words. Parents in custody cases will say things against the other parent that they later realize they should not have said. These words were not said with a malicious undertone, but usually out of frustration. As parents, we do not want our children to hear these words and will explain to our children that those words were not meant to degrade the other parent. Naive alienators feel secure in their relationship with their children and encourage the relationship with the other parent. They will abide by the court orders as well. Naive alienators will feel guilt if they think they have hurt the child's relationship with the other parent. Naive alienators do not have any problems with allowing the other parent access to school functions, records, pictures. They will encourage that the other parent take an active role. This type of alienator is able to place the needs of their child above their own desires.

Active alienators want their children to have a positive interaction with the other parent, but have a difficult time controlling their anger and hurt over the loss of the marriage. These types of alienators will make negative comments about the other parent in front of the child. They know this behavior is wrong, but have self control issues. These types of alienators are able to place the interests of their child above theirs, but they need help in their parenting skills. They are not bad parents and do not mean to disintegrate the relationship between the child and the other parent. Some form of parenting classes or therapy will most likely help this type of parent work through their own personal obstacles that are allowing them to lash out at the other parent in front of the children. I do not believe that active alienators can turn into obsessed alienators if their actions go unchecked. Active alienators have some self control issues where their anger is concerned, but want their child to have a relationship with the other parent. Active alienators may need to find other interests and or hobbies to occupy their moments of feeling betrayed by the other spouse. I believe that therapy is very helpful for this type of alienator and I believe that it can be successful.

Obsessed alienators are a different type of person. I think that if anyone has experienced parental alienation at the hands of the obsessed alienator and has sought support of others that fall into that category, you will see that certain characteristics emerge. No one wants to admit that abuse took place in their marriage and I feel this to be true especially amongst men that have experienced abuse by their wives. This would say that they were weak. No man wants to admit that he was weak. The abuse could have been physical or emotional. One of the things that I read and hear is that control was something their ex spouse had. This is different than having a discussion and wanting your spouse to take your stand on an issue and giving your reasons why and perhaps persuading them to accept. Control is “my way or the highway attitude.” You agree or you don’t. If you agree you know things will go well for you and you can continue to go on. If you do not agree, you know there will be hell to pay. I also think that obsessed alienators fall into the narcissistic, sociopath or psychopathic or a combination of the aforementioned disorders. When one marries a person that could be or is narcissistic, a sociopath or psychopathic, you become their possession. Anything acquired during that marriage is their possession, be it property, material belongings or children. They will control everything. If you decide to divorce this type of person, they will again use their ways of persuasion to gain control. Most parents want contact and access to their children and are willing to give up material possessions to secure that. How many times have you seen a mother or father give up the home so their children are not disrupted in their daily lives? They want is best for their children, so they do what they thought was best. Little do they know that the obsessed alienator lies in the cover of the brush as a tiger waits on its prey? Waiting to pounce and attack with a vengeance.

I compare the obsessed alienator to a tiger because tigers are mostly considered a villain. They live largely secretive lives and attack preys using stealth, cunning and agility. A tiger’s unwillingness to fight without necessity has often been seen as lack of courage and aggression. This is what obsessed alienators are; aggressive and they lack the courage to face the issues that drive them to commit these acts.

Obsessed alienators will not follow court orders. Court orders do not intimidate them for the possible consequences they may face. Obsessed alienators have one goal in mind and that is to destroy the relationship with the healthy parent. Obsessed alienators will gather anyone they can to support their cause. You may find yourself in court with people you have never seen before ready to testify to some atrocious act that you have done. Obsessed alienators thrive on the concept that the more the merrier. The more that support their accusations against you, the merrier the obsessed alienator becomes. They will project their downfalls upon the other parent and be very convincing. If the courts take their side, they have succeeded in one quest, but there are more to come. The obsessed alienator is right no matter how delusional the allegations appear. Obsessed alienators will go to counseling, but only for a short time. They do not need help and they are only there to show the counselor that they can comply. They will say what is needed to suspend those sessions.

Counseling will not help change the obsessed alienator. The only one getting any help from sessions will be the target parent.

Parental alienation is abuse. Stop the abuse.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr
As a target parent I get frustrated with the system for allowing this atrocity to continue. No child or parent should ever have to be separated due to the malicious actions of another adult. There is no excuse for this.
I decided to add the Serenity prayer today because sometimes target parents get lost in the chaos of their case. We know we cannot change things, but really wish we could and wish we were not having to pray for a change.
So will researching the Serenity prayer I came across this site:
"Serenity Prayer: What does it mean?This beautiful prayer was written by a man named Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943. The words have special meaning to those who are often “looking for peace” at a time of turmoil, despair, or uncertainty in their lives. This prayer has become closely associated with 12 Step programs, offering strength and calm in pursuit of a more stable life. "
Well this is not a 12 step program, but I think the prayer has merit for what target parents experience and can be comforting as well.
I found this to be very true:
"Serenity Prayer: How do I put this into practice? Perseverance and successes aren’t born out of good times. They are born out of trials."
This hit home with me, as I have been tried many times, for what I wondered Lord, how much more can I handle? Since my son was born, I have faced many difficult times. I heard that God never gives you more than you can handle and many times I have questioned him. Things happen for a reason and we may not know why. Hardships make a person stronger.
If nothing else, persevere in your efforts to have contact with your child or children. Send emails, cards, letters, or text messages. They may go unanswered, but your child may read them. They need to know that you love them and think of them.
Keep the strength to continue your quest for what you believe is right for your child.
Never give up hope.
So on this eve of the Presidential election, where the hope for change is the message, tell me what change will come for families experiencing parental alienation?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

1200 days and counting

Well today is past 1200 days since my son said "I love you" to me. It really does not matter if I made this entry yesterday, today, and tomorrow, next week or next month. The fact remains that I have not heard those words uttered from his mouth in relevance to his feelings towards me. It is heartbreaking to say the least. I also know that he is at an age that these so called words are difficult to articulate at times. It still does not take away the pain that he can easily articulate them to the alienating parent. One could ask if I was jealous of that. I want my son to love both of his parents.

One of the issues I would like to touch upon today is what a target parent is. A target parent is a parent that the other parent has decided that they will ruin, no matter the cost. With the attitude of "no matter the cost", they usually take prisoner of the child's or children's mind in a contested divorce that involves custody of the minor children. The child or children are forced to make a decision that no child should ever have to make. They have to decide whom they will side with. With that decision comes the so called love and adoration from the alienating parent and the desperation, frustration and helplessness of the target parent.

Please do not think that a target parent is some vulnerable and feeble minded person. Do not confuse their frustration with being insecure. Do not confuse their desperation with hopelessness. Do not confuse their anger with hostility. Do not confuse their aloofness with acceptance. Unless you are a target parent or know what a target parent experiences, you can not imagine how it feels to call your child and to have that call go unanswered. You can not imagine how it feels to leave message after message to not be returned or acknowledged. You can not imagine how it feels when you know you should be able to have phone contact and the message service comes on immediately, indicating the phone is turned off; when by court order it should be on, because this is YOUR court allotted time for a phone call. You can not imagine how it feels to find that your child's cell phone number has been disconnected for the third time because you found the new numbers. You can not imagine the desperation a target parent feels because they cannot have access to their child, their schooling, their school pictures or anything a parent would wish to participate in or have a memento of. You can not imagine the emotion the target parent feels when all they are trying to do is to be a parent and they are met with brick walls and road blocks by the alienating parent and the courts.

Fathers and Mothers have been persecuted by the courts for being loving parents by the malevolent actions from alienating parents. It is time that the courts and anyone else involved in the custody issues of minor child find the intestinal fortitude to ward off the evil manipulations by the alienating parent and all who support them.

With this I ask you, have you hugged your son or daughter today and let them know that you loved them? I would, but I cannot do that.

Become an advocate, educate yourself about parental alienation, fight the abuse and let others know that parental alienation is abuse.

Parental alienation is abuse! Fight the abuse!

Dear Son

I found a card the other day in the store and this really hits home. I do not see an author to give credit to.

Dear Son,

Ever since you were born I worried and wondered about whether or not I was being the best parent I could be.

Did I make you feel important?
Did we find enough time for the little things that live on in happy memories---
like laughter, and hugs, and "just-between-us"moments?

And, even when we disagreed, did you always know I loved you?

Of all the things in my life that I might have or could have or should have done differently, there's one thing I'd never change, and that's the having you for a son....

If I didn't always find a way to say it, I hope I always showed it...
I'm proud to be your parent, and I love you, Son.